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Sunday, January 29, 2017

City of Friends by Joanna Trollope

I usually like Joanna Trollope's novels but I didn't finish this one.  There are a lot of characters and I found some of the connections confusing. Also, I like the way that Trollope writes about modern trends so I thought that I would be interested to read about a character with a mother who has Alzheimer's, however, I found it extremely depressing.

I may give it another try later, but it didn't grab me and life is short!

I received this free ebook from Net Galley in return for an honest review.

The Essential Guide to Mindful Dressing Jules Standish

File:Blue dress - Ch9 Today Show, Bourke Street Mall - Flickr - avlxyz

This is a great book for anyone who wants to improve their way of life by using colours! Standish explains how to tell what 'season' you are and how to dress appropriately. She also gives excellent advice about choosing the right colours to wear for different occasions or just to improve your mood. For example, blue is soothing and red can give one energy. She also tells readers how to match colours.

I think that I will buy this one!

I received this free ebook from Net Galley in return for an honest review.

The Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps in France, 1917 – 1921 Women Urgently Wanted by Samantha Philo-Gill

This is a useful textbook by Samantha Philo-Gill for research purposes but I found it too dry for bedtime reading!

I received this free ebook from Net Galley in return for an honest review.

The Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps in France, 1917 – 1921 Women Urgently Wanted by Samantha Philo-Gill published by Pen & Sword Publishing

256 pages

Kindle $10.34

Monday, January 23, 2017

The Trials of The King of Hampshire Madness, Secrecy and Betrayal in Georgian England by Elizabeth Foyster

This is an unsettling story about the 3rd Earl of Portsmouth who was brought before a commission by his family because his sanity was in question. He was a rather unsavory character with extremely odd interests, but was he mad?

He was treated in a very inhumane way by his second wife and her family and several people either took advantage of him or tried to take advantage of him so it's a sorry tale. This is a well-researched study of a very dark side of Regency society. I didn't finish it because I didn't want to worry about it now and I didn't find it all that interesting.

I received this free ebook from Edelweiss in return for an honest review.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

The Hothouse by the East River by Muriel Spark

I found this rather weird and unsettling so I didn't finish it. However, I read some of Muriel Spark's other novels when I was younger.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Marie-Antoinette by Stefan Sweig

Ididn't finish this biography because I found it too wordy and old-fashioned, however, it is an important study of the French Queen. Swieg attributes much of the cause of the French Revolution to Louis XVI's early impotence and Marie-Antoinette's frustration. This led her to seek happiness in over-spending, gambling, parties and coquettish behavior with handsome young men. He appears to take an unsympathetic view and regards Marie-Antoinette as a rather silly and heedless young woman during her life who only faced her death with great dignity.

I felt that too much of this bbased on gossip and speculation and that Sweig attached too much importance to the poor Queen's behavior and not to her enemies and the American Revolution which was the real cause of the downfall of the economy.

I received this free ebook from Edelweiss in return for an honest review.

IN Pursuit of Privilege. Give Feedback In Pursuit of Privilege A History of New York City's Upper Class and the Making of a Metropolis by Clifton Hood

This was thoroughly-researched and useful for students studying the history of the upper classes of NYC. However, I found it a bit too academic and dull to read straight through. I may try again later.

I received this free ebook from Net Galley in return for an honest review.

Friday, January 06, 2017

The Kindness Challenge by Shaunti Feldhahn

This book got a bit repetitive but I certainly think that the idea is worth a try! According to Feldhahn, you can change your relationships simply by being kind. She suggests focusing on one difficult relationship for thirty days and practising the three area of kindness - saying nothing negative, practising praise and doing a small act of kindness - each day.  This will become a habit and soon you will be able to be kinder to everyone! She has an excellent chapter on how to overcome the difficulties of being kind, such as how to keep one's temper.

I am glad that she explained that being kind is not being 'nice'.  Kindness doesn't 'shy away from a challenge' and it doesn't avoid conflict.  It requires 'honesty and strength'.  The old saying that 'you have to be cruel to be kind' really does apply sometimes, for example, if your child needs treatment for alcohol addiction, it is kind to refuse to make excuses for him.  Feldhahn points out that Jesus was many things, but he wasn't kind.

I found this more useful than most self-help books and I recommend it.

I received this free ebook from Crown books through Blogging for Books.

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Kick. The True Story of Kick Kennedy, JFK's Forgotten Sister and the Heir to Chatsworth by Paula Byrne

"Photograph in the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston. " -
'Kick" Kennedy was a likeable, vivacious, and intelligent young woman who was loved by almost everyone who met her.  This biography by Paula Byrne recounts her happy childhood in a large and boisterous family, her closeness to her beloved brother Jack, her love for England, her deep Catholicism and her anguished love affairs. The many tragedies which affected her life are handled well.Leaming's exposition of her struggle with her struggle with her Catholicism which conflicted with her desire to marry the Duke of Devonshire is especially good.

Kathleen Kennedy really came into her own when she went to England where her father was the American Ambassador during the 1930s. Although his anti-war views were highly annoying and embarrassing, she attracted a lot of suitors.  The young English men liked her 'openness and warmth and lack of pretension.' She was apparently amazed by the drabness of the English girls.

She could choose between many men, but she eventually chose the handsome future Duke of Devonshire who came from perhaps the most anti-Catholic family in England. Billy's parents loved Kathleen but she was put under a lot of pressure to convert to the Anglican church and bring up the children as Anglican, because it was not possible for Billy's future son to be a Catholic and a duke of Devonshire. The Devonshires also had at least forty livings in the Church of England.  Although Kathleen tried desperately to find a solution, there was really no answer to the conflict, because Billy wouldn't marry in the Catholic church and Anglican weddings were not recognised by the Catholic church.  I was a bit surprised that Kick chose to marry in a Registry Office instead, however.

After Billy's brave death, Kathleen chose to stay in England which was now home. As Nancy Astor had told her, once England got into her blood it would never let her go. Although, this marriage shocked the Kennedy's, they had become reconciled to it, and helped her to face Billy's tragic death. Even Rose, a rather fanatical Catholic, had remained close to Kathleen. However, the Kennedy's were in for an even greater crisis later in Kathleen's life...

This book is an excellent addition to any Kennedy collection, and this is an interesting and sympathetic biography of an amazing woman who would probably have achieved great success. However, I did find the writing fairly factual.

I received this free ebook from Edelweiss in return for an honest review.

Monday, January 02, 2017

A Portrait of Emily Price by Katherine Reay

When art restorer Emily goes to Atlanta, all of her dreams come true.  She falls quickly in love with a young and handsome Italian chef called Ben. Her work is praised, and even her sister Amy is able to pull herself together, and doesn't steal Ben's attention.  Emily has finally found true happiness with Ben.

However, things are not so easy when the loving couple go to Italy and live with Ben's big and complicated family.  Ben's father Lucio is dying and the sadness of this is worsened by the tensions and secrets within the home.  Although Lucio takes Emily under his wing, Ben's mother is cold to her, and Ben and Emily have their first fight when Emily tries to help his sister make a match with Alessandro...

This was a sensitive and moving book and a good description of a clash between cultures and a growing romance.  It was easy to imagine that one was in a warm Italian household and easy to empathise with Emily's difficulties.  I was a bit surprised that there was not much mention of the family's attitude towards Emily's being obviously Protestant and the differences between the denominations, however. Research was a bit lacking by Katherine Reay here. However, this didn't affect my enjoyment of the story. I also especially liked the literary allusions.

I received this free ebook from Net Galley in return for an honest review.